FILE - In this March 29, 2012 file photo, L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt leaves the L'Oreal-UNESCO prize for the women in science, in Paris, France. L'Oreal cosmetics heiress Liliane Bettencourt has died at the age of 94 at her home, her family announced. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File)
PARIS - French businesswoman and billionaire Liliane Bettencourt, whose family founded L‘Oreal and still owns the largest stake in the cosmetics giant, has died aged 94, her daughter said on Thursday.

Bettencourt, listed by Forbes as the world’s richest woman, was the heiress to the beauty and comestics company her father founded just over a century ago as a maker of hair dye.

Her death opens a new phase for L‘Oreal, France’s fourth-largest listed company, altering the relationship it has with key shareholder Nestle (NESN.S), the Swiss food company.

Bettencourt and her family owned 33 percent of the company. Her daughter Françoise Bettencourt-Meyers, who sits on L‘Oreal’s board along with her own son, said in a statement the family remained committed to the company and its management team.

“My mother left peacefully,” Bettencourt-Meyers said, adding that she had died during Wednesday night at her home in Paris.

“I would like to reiterate, on behalf of our family, our entire commitment and loyalty to L‘Oreal and to renew my confidence in its President Jean-Paul Agon and his teams worldwide.”

In 2011 Agon was appointed chairman and chief executive of L‘Oreal, owner of the Lancome and Maybelline beauty and make-up brands and of Garnier shampoos.

-REUTERS